What does it take to recover artifacts from a shipwreck like the Whydah? There are a number of answers to that question.
First, the work involves a crew of technicians, divers, deckhands, conservators, and archaeologists, dedicated to the job.
Next, the expedition needs a stable boat rigged for dive support and underwater excavation. Diving equipment and warm wetsuits, so divers can stay underwater for long periods, are essential. Because of the relatively shallow waters at the Whydah site, divers do not need to wear the kind of equipment needed in deeper wreck sites.
A number of tools are essential for the search, including a magnetometer and remote seeing equipment to map the area the wreck lies in. Artifacts found on the site are conserved in a lab.
Perhaps most important of all, it takes stamina, motivation, and grit to keep the project going. All of those things went into recovering the artifacts, and the story, of the Whydah. the slave ship turned pirate ship.
A number of logistical problems presented them selves. The wreck was buried 10 to 30 feet in the shifting sand beneath the seabed. More than 3,000 ships had sunk off Cape Cod in the past 400 years. How could one find a specific ship? On top of all that, Cape Cod weather is unpredictable. Violent storms his up with no warning.
Undaunted by such obstacles, Barry Clifford and his team started work in 1983. At first, they came up empty-handed. But on July 23, 1984, a diver found the first possible evidence of the ship.
A year later, in the fall of 1985, the team made an essential discovery. They recovered the bell from the Whydah. Now, finally, here it was-irrefutable proofreads that the fabled shipwreck had been located.
Follow the Whydah project @expedition.whydah